German company penalised for ‘Bhopal sister’ plant accident in US

A fatal explosion in the pesticide manufacturer’s plant in 2008 had led the US environment agency to draw a parallel with Bhopal gas tragedy of 1984

While the victims of Bhopal gas tragedy still await the decision of a US Court on Union Carbide Corporation’s liability for 1984 gas leak, a company that manufactures deadly methyl isocyanate (MIC) has been penalised in the US for causing two deaths in another tragedy.

Bayer Cropscience, a German company that manufactures MIC in West Virginia, was penalised for violating accident prevention laws.An explosion in its plant had led to killing of two persons in 2008. The manufacturing unit came to be known as Bhopal’s sister plant after environmentalists found that the only other plant after Bhopal that stockpiles MIC was this plant in West Virginia.

The US’s Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Justice, on September 21, had announced a US $5.6 million settlement with German pesticide and insecticide manufacturer Bayer CropScience for violations. Bayer CropScience, in March this year, had sold a significant part of the plant to Dow Chemicals, the company that now owns UCC. The plant is situated in an unincorporated township, called Institute, in West Virginia.

Full story to be found here:

An unending tragedy in India

Bhopal victims, on the other hand, represented by non-profit Earth Rights International (ERI), are hopeful that the American court will honour the new evidence that shows that one UCC employee, Lucas John Couvaras, managed the construction of the plant. Earlier, in June 2012, judges had ruled in favour of UCC’s erstwhile chief executive officer Warren Anderson in denying that they faced any individual liability because he did not personally approve the location of the Bhopal plant.

On Monday, the US Environmental Protection Agency, based on complaints of residents of Institute and environmental groups across the world, initiated an investigation of the 2008 incident. During the investigation, as outlined in a 173-page consent document of EPA and Bayer, it was found that safety lapses led to the deadly runaway chemical reaction in 2008. A Congressional investigation even stated that the explosion “came dangerously close” to compromising an MIC storage tank about 24 metres away. Had the burning residue treatment plant hit the tank, “the consequences could have eclipsed the 1984 disaster in Bhopal, India.”

The problem area

The complaint details several problems that arose at the pesticide manufacturing facility in the Institute where the company did not comply with its risk management plan designed to prevent accidental releases. In 2008, a new digital control system was installed, but safety interlock associated with the control system was not properly engaged at startup. Employees were not fully trained to understand or operate the system and failed to follow procedures for sampling, temperature control and flow safeguards. The result was an uncontrollable build up in a treatment unit, causing a chemical reaction resulting in explosion, fire and loss of life. During the incident, the company delayed emergency officials trying to access the plant, and failed to provide adequate information to emergency response operators in the country.

Prior to the 2008 explosion, the Coalition against Bayer Dangers (CBG), a non-profit based in Germany, had introduced several countermotions to Bayer’s Annual Shareholder Meetings demanding to stop MIC production in Institute, in West Virginia. However, when the non-profit spoke up on the issue four months ahead of the explosion at the shareholder meeting, Bayer CEO Werner Wenning rejected any need for action. “The plant officials said that it conformed to the latest safety standards and had an excellent incident rate,” states a release by CBG.

According to Axel Koehler-Schnura of CBG, highly hazardous substances such as phosgene and MIC are not among the mass production products, and certainly not in the vicinity of residential areas. “Ever since the company established itself, Bayer has endeavoured by exerting pressure and making threats to suppress information and criticism–also at Institute. The truth and the interests of humans and the environment are left by the wayside,” she added.

However, after the incident in 2008, Bayer announced a plan to curb its MIC stockpile by 80 per cent. Then, in January 2011, Bayer said that it was phasing out the production and use of MIC as part of a corporate restructuring that the company said at the time would cost the neighbouring Kanawha river valley about 220 jobs over several years.

According to a release by EPA, Bayer CropScience will be spending approximately US $452,000 on a series of measures to improve safety at chemical storage facilities across the United States and US $4.23 million to improve emergency preparedness and response in Institute and protect the Kanawha River. Bayer CropScience will also pay a US $975,000 penalty.

“The multiple safety failures that existed at this facility that led to loss of life demonstrate why safeguards are necessary to protect people’s health and the environment,” said EPA mid-Atlantic regional administrator Shawn M Garvin. The nearly US $4.23 million for environmental projects will benefit the Institute community by improving mobile communication for emergency response units and training for local fire and police departments, shelter-in-place training and hazardous waste collections at local public schools and installing equipment to prevent pollution from water used in Bayer CropScience’s as well as other units’ manufacturing process from reaching the Kanawha River.

According to Satinath Sarangi, founder member of the non-profit, Bhopal Group for Information and Action,that has been working closely with the victims, the outcome of the Bayer settlement may not have any bearing with the ERI case in the US Courts. “However, it is relevant and I wish our courts also dealt with the polluters in a similar way,” he said. According to ERI, the decision may come in two to four months.



Ethecon awards 2014/2015 – Black Planet Award denounces the chairman of the board Andrew Liveris and board member James Ringler and the major shareholders of DOW CHEMICAL

The follow Press Release appears in: Englishespañol,  deutsch  and français.

ethecon honours the Sudan activist Tomo Križnar and shames the manager and major shareholders of DOW CHEMICAL / Public ceremony of awarding the ethecon awards and presentation „Stop FRONTEX!“

On occasion of the International Day of Peace on September 21st, 2015, ethecon – Foundation Ethics & Economy announces the recipients’ names of the two familiar ethecon awards 2014/2015.

The International ethecon Blue Planet Award honours the efforts of Slovenian activist for human rights and peace Tomo Križnar, the International ethecon Black Planet Award denounces the chairman of the board Andrew Liveris and board member James Ringler and the major shareholders of the chemicals group DOW CHEMICAL (USA).

The awards ceremony will take place November 21st in Berlin’s “Pfefferwerk”.

Over many years Tomo Križnar has been working in Sudan at the risk of jeopardising his own life between the fronts of the raging war, and he stands up for sustainable peace. The board members and major shareholders of DOW CHEMICAL are, among others, responsible for 30 years continuing of the impacts of the greatest chemical disaster in the history of industries in Bhopal/India.

Mia Farrow said about Tomo Križnar: „‘There is no one remotely like Tomo Kriznar. Over decades, with singular courage and conviction he has journeyed through the most remote and perilous parts of Darfur and Southern Sudan documenting atrocities, taking photographs and compiling information that is as invaluable as his humanitarian endeavours.’ “

It is more different when looking at the board members Andrew Liveris and James Ringler as well as the major shareholders of the chemicals group DOW CHEMICAL (USA). The justification Black Planet Award 2014/2015 they say: „No matter, if party contributions during election campaigns, tax evasion, environmental destruction, from support of genetic engineering to radioactive contamination, manipulated measurements, war mongering, price manipulation, corruption – DOW CHEMICAL is involved in countless crimes against humans and environment. The company’s president and chairman of the board and supervisory board Andrew Liveris, the member of the board and audit committee James M. Ringler as well as the group’s major shareholders are the ones that need to be held responsible for the decisions and actions at DOW CHEMICAL (USA). They own the group. They run the company. They are acting to increase their personal power and private wealth. To this end, they ride roughshod over morality and ethics and hazard our planet being turned into a Black Planet.“ (Justification International ethecon Black Planet Award 2014/15 from 21/09/2015)

With the decision of shaming the board members Andrew Liveris and James Ringler as well as the major shareholders of DOW Chemical, ethecon’s curatorship and board are explicitly referring to the proposal for a human rights charter “Health, Safety and Environmental Rights of Workers and Communities” passed in 1994 by Permant Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT), and the United Nations’ human rights charter,

The International ethecon Awards will take place during a public ceremony. The honorific speech for Tomo Križnar will be delivered by Alfred Buss, Amnesty International, coordinator Sudan/Southern Sudan, the shaming speech for the board members and major shareholders of DOW CHEMICAL will be delivered by Indian doctor Dr Mali Muttanna Mallappa of Sambhavna Trust Clinic/ Bhopal.

The ceremony will be framed into the ethecon congress about the latest topic „Stop FRONTEX – fight refugee causes and not refugees!”. The presentation will be done by a famous representative of ProAsyl.

The ethecon congress including the ceremony of the ethecon Awards will take place:

Saturday, 21/11/2015
“Pfefferwerk” on Pfefferberg
(Schönhauser Allee 176)
Starting at 14.00 pm (entrance at 13 pm)
Attendance at the congress is free, but notifiable
Further information
at .

Both positive and negative awards have been awarded since 2006. Awarded annually, the International ethecon Blue Planet Award honours outstanding efforts for the preservation and rescue of our Blue Planet. The International ethecon Black Planet Award denounces people who bear responsibility for the shocking ruin and destruction of the earth and thus have created risk of a Black Planet.


Over the past years, the International ethecon Blue Planet Award has gone to Diane Wilson/USA (2006), Vandana Shiva/India (2007), José Abreu and Hugo Chávez/Venezuela (2008), Uri Avnery/Israel (2009), Elias Bierdel/Austria (2010), Angela Davis/USA (2011), Jean Ziegler/Switzerland (2012) and Esther Bejarano/Germany (2013). By receiving the International ethecon Black Planet Award, on the other hand, managers and major shareholders of the following groups have been shamed: MONSANTO/USA (2006), NESTLÉ/Switzerland (2007), BLACKWATER (XE)/USA (2008), Formosa Plastics Group/Taiwan (2009), BP/UK (2010), TEPCO/Japan (2011), GLENCORE/Switzerland (2012) and DEUTSCHE BANK/Germany (2013).

Unlike many foundations funded by a certain company, family, church, political party or state, ethecon is one of the few “bottom-up” foundations, currently supported by 39 donors and committed to future generations by campaigning “for a world free from exploitation and repression!” Our young foundation depends on donations and support through members.


For further information, please contact:
Tanja Brouwers
Fon: +49 (0)211 – 22 95 09 21


Foundation Ethics & Economy


Schweidnitzer Str. 41
D-40231 Düsseldorf
Fon +49 – (0)211 – 26 11 210

Only if we develop and implement environmentally friendly and humane economic and societal models can we ward off the threat of ecological and social disasters. ethecon – Foundation Ethics & Economy takes the long, inter-generational view and campaigns with vision and perspective.

Donations to:

IBAN DE 58 830 944 95 000 30 45 536

Continue reading Ethecon awards 2014/2015 – Black Planet Award denounces the chairman of the board Andrew Liveris and board member James Ringler and the major shareholders of DOW CHEMICAL


भोपाल गैस पीड़ित संगठनों ने प्रधानमंत्री मोदी से मुआवज़ा, अपराधिक मामले और ज़हर सफाई के मुद्दों पर उनके 10 सितम्बर के भोपाल दौरे के दौरान बैठक के लिए समय माँगा

प्रेस विज्ञप्ति                      8 सितम्बर, 2015

भोपाल में दिसंबर ’84 यूनियन कार्बाइड के  गैस कांड के पीड़ितों के पाँच संगठनों के नेताओं ने आज एक पत्रकार वार्ता में यह आशा जताई कि प्रधानमंत्री अपने भोपाल दौरे में कार्बाइड कारखाने और उसके आस पास के प्रदूषित इलाके को देखेंगे और पीड़ितों के संगठनों से मुलाक़ात करेंगे । सितम्बर 4 को कलेक्टर को सौपे गए एक आवेदन के मार्फत संगठनों ने प्रधानमंत्री से मुआवज़ा,आपराधिक मामले और ज़हर सफाई पर बात करने के लिए 15 मिनट का समय माँगा है ।

भोपाल गैस पीड़ित महिला स्टेशनरी कर्मचारी संघ की अध्यक्षा रशीदा बी ने कहा, “1 अगस्त 2014 से 17 मार्च 2015 के बीच हमने प्रधानमंत्री को 6 ज्ञापन भेजे हैं पर उनमें से किसी का भी जवाब नहीं आया है ।  हमने प्रधानमंत्री से यह गुहार की कि जिन गैस पीड़ितों को मुआवजे में पहले मात्र 25,000 रूपए मिले हैं उन्हें केंद्र सरकार की तरफ से 1 लाख रूपए दिए जाए परन्तु प्रधानमंत्री के दफ्तर से हमारे ज्ञापनों को रसायन मंत्रालय को भेजने के अलावा और कोई कार्यवाही नहीं हुई है ।”

“परित्यक्त कारखाने के आस-पास  पर्यावरणीय प्रदूषण के ज्वलंत मुद्दे के प्रति प्रधानमंत्री का ध्यान आकर्षित करने के लिए हमने हर संभव प्रयास किए हैं। भोपाल में हर रोज कई नए लोग इस ज़हरीले प्रदूषण का शिकार हो रहे हैं पर प्रधानमंत्री ने आज तक डाव केमिकल को भोपाल की सफाई के लिए मजबूर करने के लिए कोई कदम नहीं उठाया है”, कहते हैं भोपाल गैस पीड़ित निराश्रित पेंशनभोगी संघर्ष मोर्चा के बालकृष्ण नामदेव।

भोपाल ग्रुप फॉर इन्फॉर्मेशन एंड एक्शन की रचना ढिंगरा ने कहा कि, “वर्तमान प्रधानमंत्री के साथ सबसे बड़ी निराशाजनक बात यह है कि उनके निर्देश में काम करने वाली सी.बी.आई. की कार्य प्रगति अत्यंत दयनीय है। मोदी जी के अधीन सी.बी.आई. ने डाव केमिकल की भारतीय शाखा के खिलाफ रिश्वतखोरी के मामले से हट गई, डाव केमिकल को आपराधिक प्रकरण में हाज़िर करने में दो बार असमर्थ रही और यूनियन कार्बाइड के भारतीय अधिकारियों के खिलाफ सज़ा बढ़ाने के लिए एक बार भी तर्क पेश नहीं किए हैं।”

“पिछले 1 साल के निराशाजनक अनुभव के बावजूद हमें उम्मीद है कि प्रधानमंत्री स्वयं पीड़ितों की मौजूदा हालत और ज़हरीले प्रदूषण की स्थिति के बारे में हालिया जानकारी लेने का प्रयास करेंगे। हम आशा करते हैं कि मुआवज़े, ज़हर सफाई और हत्यारी कार्बाइड को सज़ा जैसे लंबित मुद्दों को सुलझाने की कोशिश करेंगे,” कहते हैं भोपाल गैस पीड़ित महिला पुरुष संघर्ष मोर्चा के नवाब खाँ।

डाव-कार्बाइड के खिलाफ बच्चे की साफरीन ख़ान ने कहा कि अगर प्रधानमंत्री भोपाल के गैस पीड़ित इलाको में नहीं जाते, पीड़ितों के संगठनों से नहीं मिलते यह ऐसा होगा कि कोई हिन्दू बनारस जाए और काशी विश्वनाथ मंदिर ना जाए ।

रशीदा बी

भोपाल गैस पीड़ित स्टेशनरी कर्मचारी संघ


बालकृष्ण नामदेव

भोपाल गैस पीड़ित निराश्रित पेंशनभोगी संघर्ष मोर्चा, 9826345423

नवाब खाँ

भोपाल गैस पीड़ित महिला पुरुष संघर्ष मोर्चा


रचना ढींगरा, सतीनाथ षडंगी

भोपाल ग्रुप फॉर इन्फॉर्मेशन एंड एक्शन, 9826167369

साफरीन ख़ान

डाव-कार्बाइड के खिलाफ बच्चे

अधिक जानकारी के लिए पर जाए


Bhopal Gas Victims orgs urge Prime Minister Modi to grant brief mtg to discuss issues of compensation, criminal justice and clean up during his visit to Bhopal on 10 Sept

Press Statement

September 8, 2015

At a press conference today leaders of the five organisations of survivors of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal expressed hope that the Prime Minister will visit the disaster site and surrounding contaminated area and meet with the representatives of survivors’ organisations during his maiden visit to the city. Through an application to the Collector on September 4, the organisations have sought a 15 minute meeting with PM to discuss lingering issues of compensation, criminal justice and clean up.

Rashida Bee, president of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh said, “From 1st August 2014 to 17th March 2015 we have sent 6 petitions to the Prime Minister and have acknowledgements on three and response to none. We urged the PM to provide ex gratia relief of Rs 1lakh to all those gas victims who were only paid Rs 25,000 as compensation. However all that happened was our petition was redirected to the Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers.”

“We have done our best to draw the attention of the Prime Minister to the burning issue of environmental contamination around the abandoned factory site. This toxic contamination is finding new victims every day in Bhopal but the Prime Minister has not taken a single step to make Dow Chemical clean up Bhopal”, said Balkrishna Namdeo of Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogee Sangharsh Morcha

Rachna Dhingra of Bhopal Group for Information and Action said that the worst disappointment they have faced with the present Prime Minister is with regard to the abysmal performance of the CBI which is directly under the PMO. “Under Modi’s charge the CBI has deliberately abandoned the bribery case against Dow Chemical’s Indian subsidiary, twice failed to make Dow Chemical appear in the criminal case and has not once argued the case for enhancement of punishment of Indian officials of Union Carbide.” she said.

“Despite this gloomy history we are hopeful that the Prime Minister will make an effort to know first hand about the current condition of the victims and the status of the contaminated factory site. We hope he will make an attempt to resolve the long pending issues of compensation, clean-up and punishment of killer Carbide.”, said Nawab Khan of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha.

Safreen Khan of Children Against Dow-Carbide said that “If the Prime Minister’s does not visit the disaster area, does not meet the survivors it would be like a Hindu going to Varanasi and not visiting the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.”

Rashida Bi,

Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh

94256 88215

Nawab Khan,

Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha


Balkrishna Namdeo,

Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha


Satinath Sarangi, Rachna Dhingra,

Bhopal Group for Information and Action


Safreen Khan,

Children Against Dow Carbide

For more information pls visit


Bhopal Water Pollution Victims Ask Appeals Court to Hold Union Carbide Accountable

Today, lawyers representing communities living near the site of the world’s worst industrial disaster, the Bhopal Gas Disaster, will argue to the U.S Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that Union Carbide Corp. (UCC) is responsible for water pollution from the same plant that continues to foul local wells. Over a year ago a New York federal district court found that UCC could not be sued, despite compelling evidence that UCC caused the harm.

“The Plaintiffs have provided substantial evidence that demonstrates UCC’s responsibility,” said Richard Herz, Senior Litigation Attorney for EarthRights International (ERI), which represents the plaintiffs. “Two leading experts concluded that UCC’s technology and waste disposal strategy for the plant was improper for the site, and caused the water pollution that we still see today.”

Additionally, the manager who oversaw the construction of the plant confirmed that he worked for UCC, not for the Indian subsidiary that officially operated the plant. But the federal district court ruled that UCC was not sufficiently involved in the acts at the plant and that the project manager actually worked for the subsidiary. Because the plaintiffs believe that the district court improperly disregarded evidence of UCC’s responsibility, they appealed to the Second Circuit.

On December 2, 1984, poisonous gas from the Bhopal chemical plant enveloped nearby communities, killing thousands. The water pollution here is unrelated to the Gas Disaster, but has been leaching from the same plant ever since it was shut down afterward.

Marco Simons, ERI’s General Counsel, added, “These families have been living with Union Carbide’s pollution for decades. We remain committed to seeking the justice that they deserve.”

The case, Sahu v. Union Carbide Corp., is No. 14-3087 in the Second Circuit. In addition to ERI, the plaintiffs are represented by Rajan Sharma of Sharma & DeYoung, the Law Offices of Curtis V. Trinko, and Hausfeld, LLP.


Marco Simons
+1 (202) 466 5188 x103

Photo by Jack Laurenson
Information taken from EarthRights International.